The advent and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) has had a profound impact on the technological world in which we live. As more and more big-name businesses and companies sign partnerships to bring AI-fueled technology and oversight to their own personal technology or agree to allow the entirety of its data to be digested and processed by an AI system’s databanks for the purposes of machine learning, it has incited increasing controversy and outcry. Recently, no one has as vocally encapsulated the backlash to OpenAI implementation quite like Elon Musk, who recently threatened legal action against potential OpenAI partnerships. The issue, however, is not as clear-cut as it might seem. 

As Apple entered into negotiations with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT as a backup function on all Apple devices to further enhance their own specially branded, in-house AI program, Apple Intelligence, Musk took to his preferred social media platform, X (formerly Twitter, which Musk now owns), to vent his frustrations with the move. Musk wrote, “If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation.”

Seeing as Musk is himself the owner of X, Tesla, and other notable tech-fueled endeavors, it struck many as strange that the entrepreneur and media mogul would take such an outspoken stance against OpenAI and ChatGPT. However, it’s worth noting that Musk has an adversarial history with OpenAI, having filed a lawsuit against the company over three months ago. 

In that initial lawsuit filing, which claimed breach of contract as a point of contention, Musk stated he was suing the company (which Musk co-founded but is no longer a part of) in an attempt to force it to “return to its mission to develop AGI (artificial general intelligence) for the benefit of humanity,” rather than looking to “personally benefit the individual Defendants and the largest technology company in the world.”

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But now, shortly after voicing his opinions on the potential Apple deal via his own glorified social media platform, Musk has dropped the lawsuit against OpenAI, dismissing it without prejudice. Musk’s own dismissal comes just hours before a judge had set a hearing on OpenAI and Altman’s motion to toss Musk’s case out altogether, making his action seem less benign and more in the interest of saving face. 

Also notable is the fact that Musk has raised billions of dollars in the interest of funding and founding a new AI company, xAI. As stated in a rebuttal to his initial lawsuit, “Musk supported a for-profit structure for OpenAI, to be controlled by Musk himself, and dropped the project when his wishes were not followed. Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself.”

Ultimately, while Musk was an integral part of founding OpenAI, he has now founded his own AI company. Musk has voiced his concerns for OpenAI’s security and his displeasure with their deal with Apple, which all relates back to his own ties with the AI industry.